On Nov. 8, 2016, something unprecedented happened. America voted for Donald J. Trump to become the 45th president of the United States of America.
On that day, America voted for a man that literally mocks anyone he perceives as “different.” He is everything opposite of what our nation was founded upon. He is a man that shuts the door on coexistence. America voted for him because they believed in his values, including his beliefs on immigration.
Shortly after he became president, he shut the door on immigration in Muslim-majority countries.
He made immigration virtually impossible to a large majority of the world. When he did this, he made the American dream virtually impossible for many.
He showed America that discrimination is the answer and that we should not accept or tolerate others.
This immigration ban may not affect everyone directly, but it affects a large majority of the world. According to American Community Services data, the U.S. immigrant population is 42.4 million, or 13.3 percent, of the total U.S. population.
My father is an immigrant. In 1985, he left everything he knew at his home in a small village in Lebanon and ventured 6,000 miles for a better life in the U.S.
Coming here wasn’t easy—in fact, he struggled quite a bit. He injured his back his first semester as a student at Georgetown University and had to drop out. However, he was resilient, and the next semester he enrolled at University of Massachusetts, where he graduated with his Masters in chemistry.
My father is a good representation of a Middle Eastern immigrant. He is hardworking, relentless, forgiving and generous. He has worked hard his entire life.
My father was one of the first people in his town to even go to college. He was raised to never give up. He is now a director at one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. He did this by seizing every opportunity he was given.
America is the land of opportunity, an opportunity that should be available to everyone on this earth. We were built on diversity and inclusivity.
As elementary students, we were taught to judge people “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
However, we contradict our fundamental values with Trump as our president. We are now representing a narrow-minded country that believes in exclusivity.
By shutting the door on Middle Eastern people, America is being deprived of the chance to get to know and love an amazing culture that is built on selflessness and charity. It’s a culture that teaches us to love everyone and be the best person you can be.
There are so many people like my dad who have the courage to pursue their dreams here, and instead of building them up, we are knocking them down and invalidating their rights.
Many are waiting for the first opportunity they can get to come to America, and we should be welcoming them with open arms instead of shutting the door.
It is so shocking to see this xenophobic side our country is displaying, and it needs to stop immediately.
Amanda Saleh is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in journalism and Arabic. She can be reached at AS821872@wcupa.edu.